Patient Stories

Built to Fight

Carol Willis

"I was always active and healthy, and now I feel great, finally like myself."

In April of 2015, Carol Willis, a retired school teacher from Oakdale, La., and the mother of three grown children, developed a nagging cough and discovered a mass on her right side.

Carol noticed that she been losing weight, having difficulty focusing her thoughts, and becoming easily fatigued. After showing the mass to her daughter, a nurse practitioner, she immediately saw a urologist.

“I had a CT scan, and the doctor confirmed that it was kidney cancer,” she says. “The specialists told me I had Stage IV renal cell carcinoma.” She soon had surgery to remove the large tumor.

“Getting sick changes your priorities. Our family is closer than ever.”

Four generations, from left: granddaughter Madelyn, mother Vivian, Carol, daughter Mindy.​

At her follow-up appointment, her doctor explained that, despite the surgery, Carol’s cancer had spread to her lungs and liver. At that point she was referred to an oncologist who was a principal investigator on a clinical trial. “That’s when I knew this was really serious,” she says.

She entered into a clinical trial investigating Opdivo in combination with another I-O treatment, Yervoy, for certain patients with advanced renal cell carcinoma (RCC) whose kidney cancer has spread.“

After experiencing a few initial side effects, I had an excellent response to the Opdivo and Yervoy combination,” she recalls. Now in remission, Carol has had clean scans since January 2016.

“I was always active and healthy, and now I feel great, finally like myself,” she says.

As she has been regaining strength, Carol has resumed favorite activities such as woodworking, a passion she shares with her uncle Jerry.

A self-described “private person,” Carol enjoys a quiet life style now and has resumed her hobby of woodworking. She also travels often to spend time with her children and six grandchildren in Texas and Colorado.

“Over the past few years I had the opportunity to meet and speak with a number of Bristol-Myers Squibb employees,” Carol says. “I’ve heard so many of their personal stories. They are so passionate about what they do to help patients. If it weren’t for their skill and dedication, I wouldn’t be here to enjoy my life.”


Built to Fight

Carol Willis

Experiencing the benefits

Ken Simpson

Every Day to Live

Jessie Stern

Waiting for a Breakthrough

Samantha Wesson

The patient stories shared in this Annual Report depict individual patient responses to our medicines or investigational compounds and are not representative of all patient responses. In addition, there is no guarantee that potential drugs or indications still in development will receive regulatory approval. This Annual Report contains statements about the company’s future plans and prospects that constitute forward-looking statements for purposes of the safe harbor provisions under the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. Actual results may differ from those indicated as a result of various important factors, including those discussed in the company’s most recent annual report on Form 10-K and reports on Form 10-Q and Form 8-K. These documents are available from the SEC, the Bristol-Myers Squibb website or from Bristol-Myers Squibb Investor Relations. In addition, any forward-looking statements represent our estimates only as of the date hereof and should not be relied upon as representing our estimates as of any subsequent date. While we may elect to update forward-looking statements at some point in the future, we specifically disclaim any obligation to do so, even if our estimates change. This Annual Report also contains certain non-GAAP financial measures, adjusted to include certain costs, expenses, gains and losses and other specified items. Reconciliations of these non-GAAP financial measures to the most comparable GAAP measures are available on the company’s website at